Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Halloween Flashback

The candy bowl is prepped and ready to go (first year in history that I haven't opened the bags of candy prior to Halloween, y'all!).

The decorations are on point, ready to scare the littles and to delight the bigs.

My costume is laid out, ready to make it's debut prior to the first ringing of the doorbell.

I'm ready for Halloween.

I'm also missing the time when my own littles were excitedly chatting each other up about their costumes, their Trick-or-Treat route, and the parties that were certain to be held at school.

It's bittersweet.

On the other hand, since more often than not, their Halloween game-play actually led to minor bloodshed, I guess I shouldn't complain too much.


...miss those days.

Monday, October 30, 2017

All This Exercise is a Pain in the Ass. Literally

My piriformis syndrome has reared its' ugly head again. I'm not surprised; my hips have always been tight, which has always led to the irritation of the piriformis when I engage in any long-term exercise routine, especially involving walking or running. I've gotten used to stretching the muscle as much as possible as well as to using hot and cold therapy when necessary.

Still sucks, though.

Currently, I am in a holding pattern, wait-listed by a deep tissue massage therapist who is supposed to be the best at releasing the piriformis and loosening hip joints. Hopefully, an appointment will open up with her sooner rather than later.

In the meantime, I have elevated complaining about the pain in my ass into an art form. I considered learning to say the phrase "My ass is killing me" in several additional languages, but, unfortunately, it doesn't actually translate into two of them, so, I had to go with the more generic "Pain in the ass", which, for the record:

Douleur dans le cul (French)

Dolore nel culo (Italian)

Schmerz im Arsch (German)

Joda  (Spanish)

Now, if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go stretch my joda.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Dear Hallmark Channel, Some Observations, If You Please

1.  Doesn't October 27th seem just a tad bit early to roll out your Countdown to Christmas movie line-up? No?

2.  Why do all of your movies seem to be filmed in the middle of summer? You aren't fooling anyone with the fake snow thrown strategically onto fully green lawns and trees, you know.

3.  The three or four story lines that you rotate between are predictable and the handful of actors that star in each are B-list, at best.

4.  If it weren't for schmoopy romance, you would have no game at all.

5.  Despite the above-mentioned criticisms of your brand, you still manage to pull me in every year.

6.  Well played, Hallmark Channel. Well played.

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Stressed? Pissed Off? Emotionally Overwhelmed? Walk It Off

Yesterday's post highlighted one of the more negative aspects of Day Job, and, if I'm being honest, there are a lot of additional negatives to the ol' workplace. But, my awesome co-workers are not among those! I work with amazing people who are dedicated to doing the right thing and who anchor me into the positive, rather than the negative.

Lately, in an effort to achieve my daily 10,000 steps, I have been informally leading my co-workers in a walking club. We schedule a twenty minute walk into every day, switching up our route frequently, but always ending at the church across the street from our office. Once there, we run the stairs, up to ten times, depending on who is along for the walk that day.

Recently, we've had to share stair-space with the pumpkins that the church sells for their autumn fundraiser.

We've also re-engaged with our inner child by choosing to walk in neighborhoods where the leaves from the hundreds-years-old-trees have dumped copious amounts of leaves onto the yards and sidewalks; we take full advantage of kicking, tossing, and rolling in the leaves. Kristi even humored me by making a leaf angel on a day that I was feeling especially irritated by a work situation; it lifted my spirits, immensely.

In one neighborhood, where we like to ogle the older, historical homes, we discovered a lending library that made my inner literary geek squeal with delight. You can bet that we will be returning to that neighborhood.

This past week, as we strolled, we discussed our plans for the winter months, when the sidewalks are not always maintained in a way that will make walking possible; we agreed that the ritual is too important to our combined, and, individual mental health, to skip for an entire season, so; accommodations will be made. We may be wearing football cleats, but, we will persevere! Because walking makes us 90% less bitchy!

Our superiors, clients, and other co-workers will thank us for it.

Friday, October 27, 2017

Remember When a Kid's Biggest Fear Was Getting a Razor Blade in an Apple?

Yesterday, I attended a training meant to inform me on how to better identify victims of youth sex trafficking and/or labor trafficking.

The training was intense, and, at times, really hard to listen to. The stories that the trainers had to tell about their experiences with victims as young as three years old were horrific and nauseating. It was not a pleasant way to spend the day.

But, if what I learned can help me save even one child, it will have been totally worth it.

As an aside; can you believe what our world has come to?

Thursday, October 26, 2017

In Which the Cub is Still Humoring His Mother

I'm still getting daily Proof of Life from the Cub. Sometimes, it boils down to nothing more than a quick text to tell me that he loves me (awww!), but, more often than not, I'll get a totally goofy selfie or a hilarious Snapchat video.

Here are a few of the recent photos:

It's the rainy season on the island..

Wearing his new socks and drinking out of the new mug from his Halloween care package.

Making sure I know that his tongue is still firmly attached to his body. I guess?

Just another day in paradise.

To absolutely no one's surprise, I have started a countdown to Christmas vacation in my head. I love the daily contact but I can't wait to actually see this kid in person again.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

A friend, and fellow blogger, identified the new diners at the bird buffet! I can always count on him to set me straight on these things-he identified the house finches for me when I kept referring to them as "those brown birds"- and I can't thank him enough.

So, the birds are:

Western Scrub Jay

Evening Grosbeak


I feel much better knowing what they are and am especially fond of the Nuthatch.  I'm like "Welome to the nuthouse, Nuthatch!"

You have to hear it said in person to truly appreciate the humor.

Monday, October 23, 2017

Nothing Gold Can Stay

I took my camera along on my evening walk yesterday because I wanted to capture the beauty of the park before autumn comes to an end and I am faced with months of gray, barren, and muddy footpaths.

Nature did not disappoint; the light was mellow, the winds calm, and, the colors were magnificent. I took my time, truly focusing on the trail and everything around it, which, is something that I have found myself doing a lot, lately. I've seen wildlife in the park that I hadn't taken the time to notice in years past, when I was simply determined to get through my walk as quickly as possible-things to get back to, and all- and, I have explored lesser-used trails that I didn't know existed in the park; all of which have made the experience even more enjoyable.

Next Sunday, we will turn the clocks back and I will lose an hour each evening. That means that I'll lose the daylight in the park and will be forced to walk in the gym, on a treadmill, most days of the week. When I am able to walk in the park, on days that weather, and time,  permit, it will look far less inviting.

I'm going to miss this, but, I'm really glad I didn't miss it.

You know what I mean.

Nothing Gold Can Stay

Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower;
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down to day.
Nothing gold can stay.

-Robert Frost

Sunday, October 22, 2017

I Am An Equal Opportunity Bird Feeder

This year, I changed up the birdseed that I'm using in the feeders outside the kitchen window, and, the new seed seems to have attracted a much more diverse population of birds than in years past.

The first unusual visitors were the blue birds that I mentioned in a previous post. I still have no idea what they are, but, since the first one landed on the porch, it has been joined by at least three more. I suppose there could be more than four, and, that they don't necessarily have to be the same four every day, but, four is the most that I have seen gathered on the fence at a time, so I'm going with it.

Yesterday, the newest diners joined the party.

I have even less idea what they are than I do the blue birds, but, they appear similar to the blues in size and general body shape. They co-habitate fairly well with the blues, but, are pretty nasty to my usual finches, who are probably starting to feel a wee bit peevish about all the new blood.

The last of the new arrivals are these tiny little guys.

There are several of them, but, they don't stick around for very long, so I think the intimidation factor of the larger birds may prove overwhelming for them.

They are also really, really fast, so getting good pictures of them has been a challenge.

I am really enjoying the new diners; I find it quite relaxing to sit in the bay window, basking in the sunshine and watching their antics. I'm seldom alone in this endeavor, and, it's safe to say that the felines are starting to resent my interloping on their territory.

Finn puts up with it for about two minutes before he shoots me the Evil Eye and attempts to bite my toe (I prefer my wildlife watching be done while barefoot).

So, I guess one of the unexpected perks of having an empty nest is having the time to observe the world as it goes on around me, without the pressure of sports schedules, school activities, and mandatory social engagements.

On the other hand, it sure will be nice when the babies are all home for the holidays and I can share my new friends with them. I'm sure they will find them every bit as fascinating as I do.

I mean, right?

And, speaking of having a full house for the holidays, guess who will be joining us for Thanksgiving? Mikey and his mom! So, while I won't have my true-born baby boy with me for the day, I will have my honorary second-son, and, that's pretty awesome.

Then, for Christmas, I'll have the Cub back under my roof plus his sister, my sister, my nephew, and my mom. It's going to be, well, Christmas!

I can hardly wait.